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Microfinance Showcase: The Sanchan project for loans in rural Karnataka

- Overview
- Spot Billing (Electricity)
- E-Governance
- School Education
- Microfinance
- Office Administration
- Science & Technology


Performing transactions on the Simputer

Marking attendance at a meeting

A screen for a mobile banker to mark attendance of a meeting


How can a Non-Governtmetal Organiation (NGO) track farmer loans across 124 centres spread over 110 villages? As if that it is not a hard enough problem, what if the concerned villagers are barely litertate?

PicoPeta's microfinance application (for one of India's leading not-for-profit organizations) solves these problems niftily. Mobile bankers armed with Simputers visit villages, educating, informing and collecting data. When they are back in office, they use a PicoPeta-developed application to transfer data and observations to a PC. Their managers can then generate various MIS reports, and monitor progress of the loan disbursal programs.

The project illustrates the prowess of the Simputer as a simple-to-use information access and data collection device. For instance, it can even "read out" text in Indian languages, for the benefit of illiterate farmers.


Sanchan is the first Microfinance software application that provides a seamless, unified experience to the field agent for data collection, validation and transfer with built-in business logic to handle transactions and perform appropriate computations. The software operates in a distributed mode with one module residing on the Simputer or any other Linux handheld, and the other module residing on a PC.


The deployment model has a single person who is responsible for the activity at a central level, usually called a Centre or a Kendra, and is referred to as the Centre Manager or the Kendra Manager. Using the PC-side module, the Kendra Manager will be able to use Sanchan for working with his Kendra(s) for adding, modifying and deleting group and member details in terms of loans and savings products.

Sanchan allows a field trip (Simputer-side) module referred to as the topsheet, which is all-encompassing statement of the activity, collections, disbursals and records to be carried out in the field, to be 'downloaded' to the Simputer from the PC. The Kendra Manager performs this activity prior to to the actual field trip. On his return to the office from the field, he simply 'uploads' this information by connecting the Simputer back to the PC through a cable.


Sanchan provides a simple and powerful tool for Microfinance Institutions (MFIs) to drastically reduce time spent in manual collation, calculation, recording, and multiple data entry. It also contributes significantly by reducing errors in operations. Consequently, MFIs have a greater amount of time at their disposal for outreach activities, to expand their services both in volume and reach, and in the type and scope of their offerings. At the other end of the chain, Sanchan helps provide critical input to MIS operations for greater monitoring and control, and facilitates faster and effective decision-making.

The hallmark of the application is its extreme simplicity of usage with clean and consistent interfaces, secure communication channels and flawless logic to handle exceptions, all of which are available on the Simputer-PC platform. This allows for semi-literate or even illiterate users to be able to access and derive performance benefits from the application, driving down costs further.

Customizable to your special requirements

Sanchan can be customised to your specific requirements in terms of business process, logic, language and extensions in terms of SmartCard usage and other interface requirements. The future roadmap for the Sanchan-enabled Simputer is usage by the rural folk themselves for such microfinance transactions, and more importantly, as a mechanism for implementation of rural e-governance and agricultural initiatives. Information on land records, census and citizen information, information on crops, seeds, agricultural practices and the like.

- Education
- Office Administration
- Science & Technology


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